SBA launches more than $100M in new funding programs to support equitable and inclusive entrepreneurship

This week the Small Business Administration (SBA) released several funding opportunities to support and promote equitable and inclusive economic recovery for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The new Community Navigator Pilot Program will award $100 million to support regional “hub and spoke” networks in providing technical assistance, training, direct financial assistance, and other services to underserved small businesses. The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and the SBIR Catalyst Prize Competition (SBIR Catalyst) will provide a total of $5.25 million in funding for impactful and inclusive approaches for supporting entrepreneurs in conducting R&D.

Alabama governor signs measures to boost state’s innovation economy with $9M in appropriations

Alabama is the latest state that is embracing innovation as a way to grow the state’s economy. On May 19, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation that grew from two top priority measures of the Alabama Innovation Commission — proposals discussed between SSTI and commission members in a meeting earlier this year. House Bill (HB) 540 establishes the Alabama Innovation Corporation, a public-private partnership that will serve as a catalyst for the state’s growing innovation economy, and HB 609 creates the Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program that will promote research and development in the state. Both measures were passed unanimously in the state’s recently concluded legislative session. The initiatives are funded through the Education Trust Fund Budget (enacted May 11), with the Alabama Innovation Corporation receiving $4 million in funding, and the Alabama Matching Grant Program appropriated $5 million.

DHS withdraws previously proposed removal of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program

The Department of Homeland Security has recently announced its withdrawal of the previously proposed removal of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program. The program allows for DHS to use its parole authority to grant foreign entrepreneurs a period of authorized stay within the United States with the aim that their start-up business can serve as a public benefit through job creation and economic development.

Latino entrepreneurship continues growth throughout US

Throughout the past decade, the Latino entrepreneurial landscape has experienced both a growth in average annual revenue and an increase in the establishment of new employer businesses. However, Latino business owners remain significantly less likely than white business owners to receive loan approvals from major banks, resorting instead to financing options that expose the business owners to more personal financial risk including personal and business lines of credit and personal home equity loans. The strengths and weaknesses of the Latino entrepreneurial environment are explored in the recently released 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Research by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. The initiative gathered information from over 3,500 surveyed Latino owned employer businesses, alongside 3,500 white owned businesses, to examine the similarities and differences between the white and Latino entrepreneurial experience.

Kauffman report finds entrepreneurship grew in 2020, but entrepreneurship by choice declined

While the overall rate of new entrepreneurs experienced an increase throughout 2020, the share of those who created their business out of choice instead of necessity declined during the past year, reflecting the national economic instabilities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These trends, along with the levels of startup early job creation and startup early survival rates, are explored within the recently released National Report on Early Stage Entrepreneurship in the United States: 2020 by the Kauffman Foundation.

Kauffman updates entrepreneurship policy platform

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Start Us Up coalition announced an update to the America’s New Business Plan platform to advance entrepreneurship. The update places a strong emphasis on the importance of addressing the historical inequities of the American economy, as well as the urgent concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. The lead-in to the specific policy proposals also acknowledges the importance of providing sufficient support to new companies, not just all small businesses.

$40 million commitment expands entrepreneurship programs at minority-serving institutions

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $40 million commitment to expand the Blackstone LaunchPad program to support underrepresented students and communities. Going forward, LaunchPad will focus on colleges and universities that have a majority diverse population or are serving under-resourced communities, increasing the program from 30 to 75 campuses over the next five years. The LaunchPad program mentors college student-founders from idea to growth stage and provides other mentoring to students interested in entrepreneurship. Blackstone LaunchPad will also develop new offerings to bring its critical entrepreneurship training to a broader set of students and offer an expanded set of programs for entrepreneurial skill-building – like building business acumen and creative problem solving –  to support career mobility in 21st century jobs. The foundation will partner with UNCF to identify new participating schools, develop plans in support of students, and amplify the program's impact. More information is available here.

CBO provides ideas to counter entrepreneurship’s four decade decline

Entrepreneurship in the U.S. has declined significantly over the past four decades, which has contributed to an annual productivity growth of 3 to 4 percent less than it would be if entrepreneurship had remained unchanged since the early 1980s. Those are among the findings a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which points to three contributing factors for the decline and outlines measures policymakers could put in place to help spur entrepreneurship.

$300 million gift to MO higher ed will support innovation and entrepreneurship

In the largest single gift in the history of Missouri higher education, $300 million has been donated to support Missouri S&T that will enable the university to establish a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship, among other things. The benefactors are St. Louis businessman Fred Kummer, a graduate of the school who credited the education he received there with his success, and his wife.

Recent Research: Social connections more important than geography in accessing investment capital

The strength of personal relationships and social connections are the most important factors for accessing capital markets according to a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Theresa Kuchler, Yan Li, Lin Peng, Johannes Stroebel, and Dexin Zhou — using a novel modeling system and index of “social connectedness” — conclude that physical, geographical proximity has long served as the primary proxy for measuring how the social connections among firms and investors across geographies affect access to capital markets and investment decisions. These findings may have far reaching impacts for businesses from any region—not just those closer to investment hubs—as well as for entrepreneurial support organizations and other stakeholders seeking to strengthen their local innovation communities.


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